The Family Matters study revealed that single women and individuals from blended families face unique challenges in planning and saving for retirement (See Family Structure Impacts Retirement Readiness ). “These tips are designed to provide guidance to people in different family situations prepare financially for their own retirement, as well as for the financial future of their children, stepchildren and ex-spouse, if applicable,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in a press release.
Tips from the Institute include:
For Blended Families:
- Determine whether or not your ex-spouse will rely on you for support in retirement.
- Communicate on matters related to your children and who will pay for college, a wedding and health care.
- Understand the laws in your state regarding asset division – who gets what.
- Consider establishing a living trust to protect assets that are designated for your children to prevent an ex-spouse or anyone else from having access to assets.
- You can establish a bank account that is payable on death to a child, spouse or any individual you designate so probate may be avoided.
- When purchasing a home with your current spouse, consider who will be named on the deed, which affects how funds are distributed upon sale of the property.
- If you or your spouse have children from a previous relationship, consider whether you want your new spouse to adopt your children or become a guardian to establish important rights related to care, parenting and financial responsibility.
For single women:
- Know your risk tolerance. Since single women do not have a spouse with a second income, it’s important to know what you can tolerate.
- Consider establishing a living trust to protect assets that are designated for your children. A trust will prevent an ex- or future spouse from having access to the assets. Trusts can be established for many purposes. Some examples include child support, education, special needs and medical purposes.
- You can establish a bank account that is payable on death to a child or any individual you designate, possibly as a way of avoiding probate.
- Consider obtaining a prenuptial agreement if you decide to marry, which may protect your assets for your children.
- If you have children and decide to remarry, consider whether or not you want your new spouse to adopt them or become a guardian. Make sure your will designates who will care for your children.
In addition to tips for those in non-traditional family situations, the MetLife Mature Market Institute offers tips for traditional families and tips all families can use:
- Ensure that your financial plan includes products that provide lifetime income.
- Update your beneficiaries on all your retirement plans and insurance policies. Retirement assets and life insurance typically go to the beneficiary, regardless of whether or not you re-married.
- Decide how you want to structure your retirement savings. Some couples wish to consolidate while others like to keep separate.
- Have a meeting with each other and talk through your financial differences to set goals and spending budgets so you are in agreement on income needs and how to spend during retirement.
- Learn about your pension and what rules apply to your pension and retirement savings.
- Know your Social Security game plan. Work through the numbers and decide if it's more beneficial to draw Social Security benefits through your spouse's working years or your own.
- Consider age when planning and buying protection products, such as long term care insurance.
"Family Matters: Retirement Preparation Tips for Different Family Types" can be obtained here .
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